BREAKING NEWS: Man Found Dead in Plastic Container

Around 12:30 this afternoon, police responded to a report of a deceased person inside of 1561 E. 54 in Flatlands. Upon arrival, responding officers discovered an unidentified male inside of a plastic storage container unconscious and unresponsive. EMS also responded to the location and pronounced the male DOA at the scene. The investigation is ongoing.
UPDATE 04/20
Pursuant to an ongoing investigation with regards to the above incident the following individual has been arrested and charged:

Joshua Simser, a 24 year-old white male
1561 East 54th Street
Brooklyn, NY

Charges:
Murder 2

The identification and proper family notification of the victim is pending.

Off Duty NYPD Sgt Arrested for DWI

dwiAn off-duty NYPD Sergeant was arrested earlier this morning.

According to police, Donald Stewart, 34, was pulled over in the vicinity of Fulton and Boyland Street in Bed Stuy and charged with DWI.

Celebrate Earth Day by Supporting Fresh Food for NYers in need

image003cambaNew Yorkers can celebrate Earth Day on April 22 by supporting the hydroponic farm at CAMBA’s Beyond Hunger Emergency Food Pantry and ensuring that hungry families get fresh, nutritious food.

Find CAMBA’s Harvest Against Hunger Spring Food Drive at http://camba.org/FoodDrive.

The food pantry’s in-house hydroponic farm grows vegetables inside the pantry for emergency food clients. And through relationships with NY State farms, the pantry buys and distributes fresh-from-the-farm vegetables and fruits – providing healthy food for the 5,000 people who depend on CAMBA’s pantry each month.

All donations will help CAMBA invest in the hydroponic growing cubes, nutrients and seeds needed to grow lettuce, bok choy, herbs and other fresh foods for hungry Brooklynites.

In addition, donations will enable CAMBA to purchase fresh fruits and vegetables from local farmers – helping families and farmers thrive. CAMBA also will purchase healthy food packages, with essential vegetables, protein, grain and dairy products for hungry families.

  • $25 Provides a healthy food package for three families for a day
  • $50 Buys 80 servings of farm-fresh vegetables (and helps local farmers!)
  • $75 Covers the cost of 40 pounds of locally harvested fruit
  • $100 Pays for enough growing cubes, nutrients and seeds to grow 80 heads of hydroponic bok choy in a month

 

NYPD: Officers Should Take The Stairs In Fires

nypd v erticlePolice officials in New York City have changed the way officers respond to fires following the death of an officer.

They’ll now require officers responding to structures on fire to take the stairs.

Deputy Chief Kim Royster said Friday an internal memo detailing the preliminary guidelines has been distributed to precincts.

Royster says the new protocol replaces a memo distributed April 9. It had instructed officers to use the elevator.

She says the change came after consulting with fire officials in the wake of Officer Dennis Guerra’s death.

Guerra was overcome by smoke and carbon dioxide as he got off the elevator on the 13th floor of a Brooklyn building on April 6.

He died three days later. (more…)

NY Toll Violators Could Face Registration Suspensions

ezpass tollMotorists who repeatedly speed through New York state toll booths without paying would see their vehicle registrations suspended under legislation being considered by state lawmakers.

Under current law, toll evaders are contacted by a collection agency and only face registration suspensions if they commit multiple violations within the same locality – and then only after an order from a court or tribunal.

Scofflaws run up more than $30 million in unpaid tolls and fines each year. State Sen. David Carlucci, the proposal’s sponsor, said residents in his commuter-heavy district north of New York City are “extremely sensitive” when it comes to toll evaders.

“Hard-working people are paying more for the people who cheat the system,” said Carlucci, a Democrat. “It’s really something that gets my blood boiling.”

His proposal would allow officials to suspend the registration of anyone who racks up five toll violations within 18 months. The state would also be able to refuse new registrations to chronic evaders.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo supports the idea and had proposed it in his initial budget recommendation to lawmakers. It was left out of a nearly $140 billion budget deal worked out last month, however.

Lawmakers are set to return to the Statehouse April 28. Carlucci said he retooled his proposal to make it more agreeable and has dropped an earlier call for tougher criminal penalties for toll cheaters.

Toll dodgers have failed to pay $150 million in tolls in the past five years in New York state, according to Deputy Transportation Secretary Karen Rae.

Two recent cases show the lengths that some drivers will go to avoid tolls. Port Authority police said Thursday that a New York truck driver mounted his license plate on a hinge and used a long string to raise it when he passed through a toll plaza.

Also Thursday, prosecutors accused a New York City taxi driver of not paying $28,000 in tolls by routinely tailgating vehicles as they went through E-Z Pass lanes at the Robert F. Kennedy Bridge.

Happening Now: Free Ice Skating in Coney Island

springbreak ice skating

4 Banks In 1 Day – Police Need Your Help Identifying These Bank Robbers

bkbank4indayPolice are seeking the public’s assistance identifying the following individual wanted for two bank robberies and two attempted bank robberies which took place in Brooklyn. Details are as follows.

1. April 14, 2014 at 12:30 PM inside of 2102 Ralph Avenue(Capital One) the suspects passed a demand note and fled with approximately $1800.

2. April 14, 2014 1:55 PM hours inside of 1987 Flatbush Avenue(Chase) the suspects entered the location passed a demand note and fled without taking any money.

3. April 14, 2014 2:10 PM inside of 1123 Kings Highway(Northfield Bank) the suspects entered the location passed a demand note and fled the location without taking any money.

4. April 14, 2014 2:30 PM inside of 301 Avenue U(Santander Bank) the suspects passed a demand note and fled with approximately  $4,500.

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Tenants Claim Discrimination by Brooklyn Landlord

A Brooklyn landlord has engaged in a pattern of ill-treatment to force out minority renters, even failing to cash rent checks in hopes of later evicting them for nonpayment, tenants said Tuesday after filing a federal discrimination lawsuit.

Jean Wilkinson said the landlord has ignored requests to fix her water – the only source of hot water in her apartment for the last five days has been the stove, she said – as part of a “game plan” to get more affluent clientele.

The tenants filed a federal discrimination lawsuit late Monday against Homewood Gardens Estates and its principal owner, Yeshaya Wasserman, alleging a pattern of harassment “almost from the day” he purchased the complex in 2009. They are seeking an order stopping the alleged harassment and monetary damages.

Tenant Marquetta Bell said the plaintiffs – 11 current or former tenants and two community groups – are serving notice: “We will no longer stand for this discrimination.”

Attorneys for the tenants said the complex in the Prospect Lefferts Garden neighborhood failed to complete repairs and changed locks without providing them with keys.

When the complex’s maintenance staff did make repairs, the shoddy work created other problems including mold, leaky windows and floors so worn in some places tenants could see into the basement below, the attorneys said.

A woman who answered the phone at Homewood Gardens said Wasserman would not be back in the office to respond to questions about the lawsuit until Wednesday. No one else was available to answer questions, she said.

City officials reported dozens of complaints about the complex since Wasserman took ownership.

Last October, the state’s Tenant Protection Unit served a subpoena on Wasserman for documents from Homewood Gardens and seven other properties. The unit, according to the governor’s office, was investigating “a pattern of abusive behavior and flagrant violations of rent laws.”

Pavita Krishnaswamy, an attorney for the tenants, said Wasserman is targeting them because they are black. She said 20 of the 52 rent-stabilized apartments in the complex have been vacated since he took ownership and, according to the lawsuit, 14 of the 15 new tenants are white or Asian.

She said the lone black tenant who moved in after Wasserman bought the complex faced a 13.9 percent rent increase while rent for tenants of other races went up less than 3 percent.

Wilkinson, who has lived at the complex for 14 years, said once she figured out the landlord had not cashed her rent checks he offered her $15,000 to leave.

“I told him to take a walk,” Wilkinson said. “If you really want me to leave, take me to court.”

NYPD Disband Unit That Spied on Muslims

A special New York Police Department unit that sparked controversy by tracking the daily lives of Muslims in an effort to detect terror threats has been disbanded, police officials said Tuesday.

NYPD spokesman Stephen Davis confirmed that detectives assigned to the unit had been transferred to other duties within the department’s Intelligence Division.

An ongoing review of the division by new Police Commissioner William Bratton found that the same information collected by the unit could be better collected through direct contact with community groups, officials said.

In a statement, Mayor Bill de Blasio, a Democrat, called the move “a critical step forward in easing tensions between the police and the communities they serve, so that our cops and our citizens can help one another go after the real bad guys.”

The Demographics Unit, conceived with the help of a CIA agent working with the NYPD, assembled databases on where Muslims lived, shopped, worked and prayed. Plainclothes officers infiltrated Muslim student groups, put informants in mosques, monitored sermons and cataloged Muslims who adopted Americanized surnames.

After a series of stories by The Associated Press detailing the extent of the NYPD’s surveillance of Muslims, two civil rights lawsuits were filed challenging the activities as unconstitutional because they focused on people’s religion, national origin and race.

Former Police Commissioner Ray Kelly had defended the surveillance tactics, saying officers observed legal guidelines while attempting to create an early warning system for terrorism. But in a deposition made public in 2012, an NYPD chief testified that the unit’s work had never generated a lead or triggered a terrorism investigation in the previous six years.

Linda Sarsour, the executive director of the Arab American Association of New York, said she was among a group of advocates at a private meeting last week with police brass at which the department’s new intelligence chief, John Miller, first indicated the unit wasn’t viable. She applauded the decision but said there’s still concern about the police use of informants to infiltrate mosques without evidence of crime.

“This was definitely a part of the big puzzle that we’re trying to get dismantled,” Sarsour said. But, she added, “This doesn’t necessarily prove to us yet that these very problematic practices are going to end.”

Another person at the meeting, Fahd Ahmed, legal and policy director of Desis Rising Up and Moving, called the decision “a small step.” He questioned what had happened to the information gathered by the unit.

“The concern wasn’t just about the fact that this data was being collected secretly – it was about the fact that this data was being collected at all,” he said.

The NYPD’s decision to disband the unit was first reported in The New York Times.

The Center for Constitutional Rights in New York and the California-based Muslim Advocates, which represented eight New Jersey Muslims in a 2012 lawsuit challenging the spying program, welcomed the unit’s dismantling but expressed concern it wouldn’t stop the surveillance in Muslim communities.

“But nothing in the City’s announcement definitively suggests they will put an end to broad surveillance practices, which would continue to be illegal regardless of which department within the NYPD might be engaged in it,” they said in a statement.

New York Civil Liberties Union Executive Director Donna Lieberman hailed the decision, saying police-community relations took a blow from the unit’s broad surveillance of all Muslims, not just people suspected of wrongdoing.

“We hope this means an end to the dragnet approach to policing that has been so harmful to police-community relations and a commitment to going after criminal suspicion, rather than innocent New Yorkers,” said Lieberman, whose organization is involved in lawsuits over the practice.

In Washington, 34 members of Congress had demanded a federal investigation into the NYPD’s actions. Attorney General Eric Holder said he was disturbed by reports about the operations, and the Department of Justice said it was reviewing complaints received from Muslims and their supporters.

The AP’s reporting also prompted an investigation by the CIA’s inspector general. That internal inquiry concluded that the CIA, which is prohibited from domestic spying, hadn’t broken any laws, but it criticized the agency for allowing an officer assigned to the NYPD to operate without sufficient supervision. (more…)

Man found with fatal gunshot wounds in Fort Greene

nypd-crime-scneThe NYPD is investigating after a 42-year-old man was found dead in front of an apartment building in Fort Greene.

Police say Armal Mallory was found with gunshot wounds to the head and torso.

The Brooklyn man was discovered unconscious and unresponsive in front of the Whitman Houses shortly after midnight Monday.

Police say he did not live in the building.

Mallory was pronounced dead at the scene.

(more…)

Man Wanted for Arson – 3 Churches in 3 Days

Police are seeking your assistance identifying the following individuals wanted in regards to three acts of arson which took place at three houses of worship in Brooklyn.

1. Saturday April 12, 2014 at 2:45 AM, in front of 303 East 98 Street(The Greater New Beginnings Church), the suspect lit a newspaper on fire burning the inside doorway of the location.

2. Sunday April 13, 2014 at 2:35 AM, inside of 1504 Pitkin Avenue (Inglesia Cristiana Church), the suspect tossed an unknown object through a closed window causing a small fire in the bathroom of the location that was quickly extinguished causing minor damage to the bathroom.

3. Monday April 14, 2014 at 6:40 AM, in front of 1417 Union Street (St. Mark’s), the suspect lit a newspaper on fire causing minor damage to the location.

 

Anyone with information in regards to this incident is asked to call Crime stoppers at 1-800-577-TIPS (8477).  The public can also submit their tips by logging onto the Crime stoppers website at WWW.NYPDCRIMESTOPPERS.COM or by texting their tips to 274637 (CRIMES) then enter TIP577. All calls are strictly confidential.

Brooklyn DA Announces the Felony Murder Indictment Related to the Death of NYPD Officer Dennis Guerra

Kings County District Attorney Kenneth P. Thompson today announced the indictment of Marcell Dockery, 16, for a top count of felony murder for allegedly setting a fire that resulted in the death of NYPD Officer Dennis Guerra. If convicted, Dockery faces a maximum sentence of 25 years-to-life in prison.

“The senseless act of setting that fire tragically led to the death of NYPD Officer Dennis Guerra. His partner Officer Rosa Rodriguez suffered critical injuries. Both dedicated and courageous officers did not hesitate to risk their lives to save others. We will bring the Defendant to justice for these terrible and horrific crimes.”

Marcell Dockery is charged in an indictment with a top count of Felony Murder—causing a death of a person in the course of committing the crime of Arson.  According to court documents, Dockery set a mattress on fire on the 13th floor in the hallway of a high-rise building creating a smoke-filled environment. Officers Guerra and Rodriguez, acting as first responders, were both overcome by smoke.

An indictment is an accusatory instrument and not proof of a defendant’s guilt.

Defendant Information:

Marcell Dockery

DOB: 11/21/97

Charges:

Murder in the Second Degree, or felony murder

Borough President Adams Teams Up With Youth Baseball & Softball Leaders At Borough Hall

image002baseballYesterday, Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams teamed up with youth baseball and softball league coaches, commissioners and athletic directors at his first meet and greet aimed at organizing youth sports in the borough. At the breakfast held in the community room of Brooklyn Borough Hall, he discussed his plans to use organized youth sports as a vehicle for combating the obesity crisis in Brooklyn, a top priority for his administration, as well as to address issues surrounding field maintenance, declining registration figures and participant diversity.

“If our children have a basketball or baseball bat in their hand, they are not engaged in some form of hate crime, they are not doing something that is neurotic where police officers die because they were bored,” said Borough President Adams. “Coaches in many cases are the most important role models in the lives of many children, and the life skills you can teach them will last a life time. We cannot forget that we are all part of one team, team Brooklyn.”

Borough President Adams unveiled an interactive map of all the baseball and softball fields in Brooklyn, where he has asked coaches, commissioners and athletic directors to provide feedback on field conditions and concerns. He will use the data collected from this survey to prioritize locations that may need volunteer support, greater attention from the Department of Parks and Recreation and/or capital funding.

Others in attendance, who also partnered on this event, included Brooklyn Borough Parks Commissioner Kevin Jeffrey, Brooklyn Cyclones Vice President Steve Cohen and Modell’s Community Ambassador JC Albano.

IT’S ON: Recchia Submits Over 6,100 Democratic Petition Signatures

signaturesDomenic M. Recchia, Jr. announced today that his grassroots campaign collected and formally submitted more than 6,100 signatures of registered Democrats to be listed on the ballot. The signatures submitted were collected over the course of 35 days from over 250 volunteers. The minimum number of required Democratic signatures is 1,250.

“I’m overwhelmed by the commitment and dedication shown from our supporters across the district, who in the cold and rain helped gather signatures during the last few weeks. I’m also incredibly grateful for the thousands of voters who took the time to sign a petition and help put my name on the ballot,” said Domenic M. Recchia, Jr., candidate for Congress in New York’s 11th congressional district. “Over the next several months, we have a lot of hard work to do to help bring commonsense leadership back to Congress, but the early enthusiasm we’ve seen shows me that this is more than possible. We’re going to continue to build our momentum door-to-door, at bus stops, the ferry, grocery stores, where we’ll be talking about the issues that matter to families here in Staten Island and South Brooklyn,” he added.

First of Three New B44 Select Bus Service Stops to Be Installed by April 21

New York City Council Member Jumaane D. Williams has announced today that the Metropolitan Transit Authority will install the first of three new Select Bus Service (SBS) stops at Avenue L and Nostrand Avenue in both directions by April 21, 2014. The stop’s actual start date is tentative.

 

B44 riders will be able to transfer directly to B52 buses at Gates Avenue, and B9 buses at Avenue L.

The stop’s installation comes months after Council Member Williams, Council Member Chaim Deutsch, District Leader Rodneyse Bichotte and other community leaders called on the MTA to re-evaluate the removal of stops along the B44 line under the new SBS program. As a result of these efforts, the MTA agreed to re-evaluate their removal in February, 2014.

Under SBS, the MTA eliminated several critical stops on the B44 line. Many residents had complained about losing the limited B44 bus stop at Avenue L and Nostrand Avenue, among others. These complaints caused Williams to lead the community in a protest rally when the B44 changes initially occurred, and convey complaints directly to the MTA. His office regularly communicated with the MTA to relay each and every constituent complaint that has been registered and to continuously lobby for the return of limited bus services. He also met with the MTA directly to convey community complaints.